Dave Butz, All-Pro defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion in Washington, has died. He was 72 years old.
A spokesman for Washington Commanders said Butz’s family informed the team of his death on Friday. The cause and place of death were not disclosed.
Butz spent 14 of his 16 NFL seasons with the Washington team, then named the Redskins, after entering the league with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 and playing his first two years there.
One of the tallest players in the league at the time, at 6-foot-8 and nearly 300 pounds, he was a key part of Washington’s defense for the franchise’s first two Super Bowl-winning teams, when from the 1982 and 1987 seasons.
Purdue’s fifth overall pick in 1973, Butz was an All-Pro selection in 1983, when he started all 16 games for Washington and had 11½ sacks. He finished second in voting for Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year and also made the Pro Bowl that season.
Butz retired after the 1988 season. A member of the Washington Ring of Fame, he was chosen as one of the organization’s 90 Greatest Players that year when the team commemorated its 90th anniversary.
He recorded 64 sacks in 216 regular season games with St. Louis and Washington.
After his death, longtime Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, who had been a teammate, called Butz “a true gentle giant.”
David Butz was born on June 23, 1950, in Lafayette, Alabama, and moved with his family to Illinois at a young age.
He was a three-time football All American at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois. He also excelled in basketball there, scoring over 1,500 points. He held the state high school discus record for 13 years, according to his website.
In the NFL, he became a free agent after his second season with the Cardinals due to an error in his rookie contract. Washington traded two first-round picks and one second-round pick to the Cardinals as compensation for signing him.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame made him a Second Team 1980s selection for his play during that decade.
Butz is a member of Purdue’s all-time football team and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Butz, who lived in Fairfax, Virginia, was the nephew of Earl Butz, former Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.
Information about survivors was not immediately available.
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